Kristian & I met in Split, Croatia. He was working as a Skipper during Yacht Week in the European summer. I was on holidays with a bunch of friends… and the rest as they say is history. To echo my wedding speech, “I still remember the moment I first laid eyes on you. You were a shell of a human, nicely fermented from weeks of drinking apple cider for breakfast and that glint in your eye that said, I’m a model from Milan. It was at that moment I realised your soul and my soul were very old friends.”
The proposal was pretty magical, he certainly pulled all the tricks out for this one! We were back in Europe, a couple of years after we met, sailing a catamaran around the La Maddalena archipelago in Sardinia with my parents. A moment I will never forget.
We decided to have our wedding on Hamilton Island because we always wanted a destination wedding. We liked the idea of everyone being relaxed, switched off and in holiday mode. Originally, we had planned on getting married at a beautiful white villa in Lake Como. While it was good in theory, we wanted to be more accommodating for our friends and family. In particular, our older relatives, who would find it harder to travel and this is when started looking locally. We decided on Hamilton Island after a long infatuation with the place. After spending several Race Weeks and conferences on the island, we loved the buzz and atmosphere of those events, so wanted to recreate that for our day. Which we did and our wedding turned into a weeklong festival.
It was a great decision and we loved the holiday vibe. It’s that feeling of getting off the plane somewhere tropical and realizing you’ve got a week or so to do nothing but eat, drink and relax. The whole week felt like ‘the festival of us’ and we loved having the staggered arrival of our guests in the lead up to the wedding day.
To start the wedding festivities we had a “White Party” at a holiday home we had hired on the Thursday night to welcome everyone to the island. This helped everyone to blow off the ‘first night’ jitters and get relaxed. So, by the time the wedding day came around, everyone was well and truly at ease, acquainted and settled into the island lifestyle. Having everyone go on holidays together was incredible. Heaps of our guests went out to the Great Barrier Reef, did the walk up to Passage Peak, visited Whitehaven Beach and the list goes on. The memories from our wedding, and each individuals holiday, is something very special.
The lead up to the wedding was absolutely seamless. I’ve got to say, the entire wedding process was a breeze, thanks to the amazing team at HI Wedding, AVPartners and Floral Collections! My wedding planner was an absolute gem, she had everything under control and looked after us (including our rowdy guests) beautifully. Our wedding stylist listened to my annoying jokes, understood the style I was trying to achieve and ultimately created magic on the day. Our florist, got my foliage concept, brought the idea to life with incredible bouquets and created stunning floral decorations.
The getting ready part was definitely one of my most loved memories! My bridal party all stayed together and got ready at one of the fantastic holiday homes. We started the day with a little champagne brekkie (it would be rude not to on my wedding day). Then I gave my girls and parents a couple of gifts (real tear jerkers) to avoid any puffy eyes right before the ceremony.
We took full advantage of the luxury cars for transport to the ceremony… partly because my dress didn’t fit in a golf cart! Our driver was an absolute sweetheart, he took us on the scenic route around the island, which really helped settle any nerves. It was a really special drive for Dad and I. Mainly discussing our strategies to avoid tearing up and crying.
Our ceremony was held at All Saints Chapel. Not only is it the most gorgeous little venue with an incredible view over Catseye Beach, but the interior was painted white a couple of weeks before our wedding, creating the ultimate Hamptons feel! While neither of us are religious, we still wanted a formal feeling to the ceremony and the ability to be able to decorate inside to our theme appealed to us as well. Again, this was done to perfection by the team at AVPartners.
After our ceremony our guests got the party started while we were getting photographs done. We had celebratory drinks on the lawn outside the Chapel and then headed off to our reception on Dent Island via the ferry. The ferry ride in itself was an experience for the guests and added to the fun of the day. As soon as our bridal party got off, golf buggies were waiting at the end of the wharf and we headed off around the course for photos. Meanwhile, our guests were enjoying drinks and canapés underneath the fairy lights on the lawn outside the Golf Club. Everything about the golf course was stunning for photos. The 5th hole in particular has a pretty spectacular view and some of my favourite photos were captured here.
Our reception was held at the Golf Club on Dent Island. The landscape, the privacy and the adventure getting there was what got us hooked. Not to mention the incredible styling throughout, which really matched with our theme. The views are amazing, with a long sweeping aspect through the islands and an elevated view of the stunning Whitsunday’s azure water. If you’re lucky you’ll also see whales and dolphins in the channel.
We wanted to create a classic look, with attention to the little details and this was perfectly executed by the team. From our perspex pillars filled with foliage and candles at the ceremony, to the lush spill over centrepiece on our sweetheart table, every setting was designed with our theme in mind and reflected chic yet minimalistic elegance.
We had been lucky enough to try the food before at the Golf Club and knew it was to a high standard. However, we were blown away by the quality of the food and impeccable service on the day. There’s something legendary about a chef cooking for 70 guests and appeasing every single one of them. Literally, our hats go off to the kitchen team. Even some of our most distinguished and hard to please guests raved about the food. Which was a pleasant surprise for us and a reflection on how good the venue really is at delivering quality in numbers. Our guests are still talking about the steak with several alleging it was the best they’ve ever had!
We loved the layout of the room. In particular having a sweetheart table was a genius idea. It gave us the opportunity to experience the wedding and enjoy those precious moments together. It also gave our groomsmen and bridesmaids the opportunity to sit with their respective partners and enjoy the reception together, which they really appreciated.
1) In three words how would you describe your wedding? Classic, elegant & real.
2) Any tips for someone planning a wedding on Hamilton Island? Every vendor we dealt with listened to us and understood what we wanted. As long as you communicate your ideas, they will create magic.
3) Any great advice that helped you on the day? The less advice, the better. Your day will be completely your own, there will be highs & lows (when it’s all over), but being present and in the moment is all that matters. Take it all in on the day, stop and smell the roses, and don’t sweat the small stuff because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you enjoy yourself. It’s all over in the blink of an eye, so make sure you take a moment to step back and observe the night.
4) What was your favourite part of the day? For both of us, the ceremony was very special. We had my 86-year-old grandma as our ring bearer and our mothers were our witnesses. My Mum also did the only reading which was from “Winnie The Pooh”. It was really important to make sure our beautiful Mum’s, who can often feel a bit left out, were a huge part of the experience.
For myself, the ceremony was magic. My heart was so full walking down the aisle and seeing Kristian standing at the end with tears in his eyes, then once I got there, looking to his right to see the three groomsmen crying as well. There was so much love in that Chapel, if I could bottle that feeling, I’d make millions!
[Kristian] For me it was walking out of the ceremony as husband and wife and getting hit in the face with rose petals. The photos of that moment always bring a smile to my face. Coming in a close second, was raising a glass to my new wife, at the end of my speech. She looked spectacular on the day and is so special to me, that she deserved the big round of applause she received.
5) Any thing you’d like to add: Make sure the wedding is authentically you as a couple; we added personal touches everywhere we could and kept in mind throughout the whole journey the real point and that is, how lucky you are to be marrying your best friend.